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Every week brings files, emails, new projects, and job lists. How much of that is different from the work you have done before? Odds are, not much. Many of our day-to-day tasks are variations on something.
Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you start something new. Use templates–as starting point for 17, standardized documents with formatting and text. As soon as you save a version of the template, just add, remove, or alter any data for that document that is unique, and you are going to have the new work completed in a fraction of this time.
Templates work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management programs, survey programs, and email. Here’s how to automatically generate documents from a template — and how to use templates from your favorite programs –so it’s possible to get your common tasks faster.
Templates take the time to build, and it’s easy to wonder whether they are worth the investment. The brief answer: absolutely. Editing a template takes far less time than formatting something from scratch. It’s the distinction between copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
That’s only one benefit: Using a template means you are not as inclined to leave out crucial info, too. By way of example, if you need to send freelance writers a contributor arrangement, modifying a standard contract template (rather than writing a new contract each time) guarantees you won’t leave out the crucial clause regarding owning the content once you’ve paid for this.
Templates additionally guarantee consistency. Maybe you send investors or customers regular project updates. Using a template, you understand the update will constantly have the formatting, layout, and general arrangement.
How to Produce Great Templates
Not many templates are created equal–and some things don’t need a template. Here are a couple of guidelines to follow.
First, templates should be comprehensive. So err on the side of including instead of too little, it’s easier to delete info than add it .
Imagine you are creating a template of your resume. You’d want to list facts about your responsibilities and accomplishments, so you are going to have all the info you need to submit an application for any job.
You can delete notes that are less-important on, but you may forget it at the final 25, if it’s not in the template.
Some applications will automatically fill in all these variables for you (more on this in a bit). But should you need to fill in the information on your own, include some text that’s obvious and simple to search for so you can locate.